There aren't many times when you know in advance that a movie is going
to be great, and then when you watch it, it's even more terrific than
you thought. For any fan of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (an apotheosis
of American humor, a work of art — seriously) this documentary about
producer Phil Rosenthal's experience in Moscow overseeing a Russian
version of the sitcom is sheer bliss. Working with storylines from
some of the best-known Raymond episodes (e.g. the suitcase on the
stairs), Rosenthal finds out quickly that comedy doesn't always travel
smoothly or make sense to (or get laughs from) other cultures. What
results is an unendingly funny series of reaction shots from the
baffled but enormously good-natured Rosenthal — as comic point after
comic point in the casting and shooting of the pilot gets lost, not so
much in translation, as in the inability to translate. The portrait of
the Russian people is surprisingly rich for a film that's less than 90
minutes. They're gruff and tough and warm and lovable and brusque and
schmoozy and dense and sensitive. You don't want to part with them at
the (very happy) ending. Plus, we get to meet Phil's dad, Max, as
himself this time, not “Max” from the Lodge. — Jeff Schultz


  1. Phil had the sense to shoot this doc. with two cameras, which means all the reactions were real time and genuine. His photogs did a great job. I'm so glad you liked it as much as I did.


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